Differences in Prescribing Patterns of Psychotropic Medication for Children and Adolescents between Rural and Urban Prescribers

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2007
Project completed:
August 2008
Prescription of psychotropic medications to youth has increased dramatically in the past 15 to 20 years. However, there is virtually no research data on differences in prescribing patterns between rural and urban prescribers. Shortages of psychiatrists, particularly in rural areas, suggest that many youths are prescribed such medications by physicians or other prescribers who do not have specialized knowledge in mental health. Thus, this project will 1) determine who are the primary prescribers of psychotropic medications to youths in both urban and rural areas, 2) identify types of medication being prescribed broken down by disorder type and demographic information (e.g., sex, age), and 3) examine trends of prescribing patterns over time in terms of type of prescriber, medication, and rural-urban differences.

The method is a secondary analysis of the 1996-2005 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) data files, published by the National Center for Health Statistics. We anticipate several publications in peer-reviewed journals or other periodicals, as well as presentations of results at national (or smaller) conferences.

There may be products related to this project; please contact the lead researcher for more information.